After LeBron James helped Cleveland win its first championship in a very long time, we’re all pondering a new question: could the San Diego Chargers end the 53-year-old drought and win their first Super Bowl?
If everything goes perfectly this year, they sure can.
The time to become great is now. The window is closing. Philip Rivers is 34 years of age and is not
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getting any younger. Whenever you have an elite quarterback like Rivers, you always have a chance.
But what separates this Chargers team compared to years’ prior is the defense. The Broncos proved that defense does win championships by winning the Super Bowl in 2016, even with underwhelming quarterback play. Not only do the Chargers have an elite quarterback, but they also have a young, hungry, feisty defense that is ready to make the leap as one of the league’s best.
On paper, the Chargers have a defense comparable to the 2007 team led by nose tackle Jamal Williams and ‘lights out’ Shawne Merriman. Whenever you run a 3-4 defense, having a run stopping nose tackle, as well as a game-changing pass rusher, is critical. Nose tackle Brandon Mebane and outside linebacker Melvin Ingram can be what the Chargers had in 2007 with Williams Merriman.
Going into only his second season, inside linebacker Denzel Perryman might be one of the best players on this Chargers’ defense. His rookie season started off slow after suffering a pectoral injury in Week 7 against the Raiders. But after primarily serving as a role player early on, Perryman was thrown into the startling lineup Week 11 to replace Donald Butler.
That is when the defense turned the corner. Perryman had 51 tackles and two sacks in 7 games after returning from the bye week. He also made a huge impact improving the players around him including fellow linebackers Manti Te’o and Ingram. Te’o actually looked like an NFL player for once, and Ingram had one heck of a finish to his season, too. Ingram had 6.5 sacks in his last five games, and he could become the next great pass rusher in the NFL. I should also mention Ingram is in a contract year, so he is hungry to improve on his 2015 season.
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Let’s not forget about the secondary led by Jason Verrett, Casey Hayward and Brandon Flowers. I
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expect the Chargers to have one of the best secondary’s in the NFL. Verrett proved last season that he is one of the best cover corners in the NFL when healthy. The addition of Hayward should not be overlooked, as he was arguably the best corner on the Packers in 2016. The oldest of the trio is Flowers. He is coming off a down year in 2016 but has admitted to slacking off on his diet as well as his focus for the game. Flowers vowed to return to Pro-Bowl form in 2017, and if he does, then this will be a secondary no team will want to face.
If everything goes perfectly in 2017, the Chargers can win the Super Bowl and end the 53-year-old drought the city of San Diego has. It’s extremely early to say, but if the team stays healthy, the offense clicks and returns to 2013 form under Ken Whisenhunt, and the defense becomes one of league’s best, I believe it can happen.
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